Deep Blood, a.k.a. Sangue Negli Abissi (1989)

Filmirage.  Director: Raffaele Donato.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most 80s.

Your probable enjoyment of “Deep Blood” depends on how much you like 80s films.  From the gang of rival punks slinging bizarre insults, to the fact that your parents just don’t understand you, “Deep Blood” hits all of the classic 80s bases.  Don’t forget the big hair, big cars, bright colors, and rockin’ soundtrack, too!  And somehow, they managed to squeeze in plenty of your favorite sharksploitation staples as well: fat guys, chum, bad acting, and lengthy underwater scenes with little payoff.  Plus, it puts you in the mood to make long lists of attributes, which I find slightly annoying, uncreative, and a little bit hard to read.  Still, for an 80s Italian sharksploitation film, “Deep Blood” is better than you might expect.

One day, four young boys meet an old Indian and make a pact to stick together forever.  Several years later, the boys get back together during summer break from college.  Ben (Keith Kelsch) has aspirations of becoming a pro-golfer, but his retired fisherman father (Charlie Brill) wants him to complete college instead.  The boys also have trouble with a gang of local street toughs, who make fun of them.  Things finally shift into high gear, though, when Miki (Frank Baroni) sees John (John K. Brune) get eaten by a shark.  Mayor Barret actually calls in the Coast Guard!  Unfortunately, Miki knows that the shark they kill isn’t the same one that ate John.  The three remaining boys must team up with Ben’s dad to hunt the shark.  A surprise helper comes to aid them as they blow up an old underwater wreck for some reason.

The DVD Cover

“Deep Blood” throws a new twist into the old “authorities try to hush up the shark attacks to protect tourism” trope.  True, the Sheriff doesn’t initially believe Ben, but Ben simply takes his information to the Mayor, who promptly calls the Coast Guard.  In fact, it appears that Mayor Barret calls the Coast Guard rather often, as he has their phone number memorized.  In any case, it’s extremely rare for the authorities in sharksploitation films to act so quickly and logically.  In fact, this could just be the first time ever!  (True, the Mayor later refuses to believe Ben when he says the killer shark is still out there, but he eventually comes around and calls in the Coast Guard a second time.)

"I knew I put you on speed-dial for a reason."

“I knew I put you on speed-dial for a reason.”

Sadly, “Deep Blood” has no scenes of extremely large, hairy men in swimsuits (I know, I know, hopefully we’ll have better luck next time).  But never fear—three fat guys in clothes are worth one in a speedo, right?

The sad thing is, the Sheriff is actually pretty tubby.

The sad thing is that the Sheriff is actually pretty tubby.

On the subject of the sheriff, this little campaign poster hanging in his office is never explained.


Maybe they thought we wouldn’t notice.

While I like 80s films and found “Deep Blood” at least palatable, I should warn you that the film hits a serious dead spot about 20 minutes before the end.  Suddenly, the world shrinks down drastically as all thought of the Coast Guard, the Sheriff, the Mayor, or Ben’s dad disappears.  Apparently everybody else stops doing anything interesting while the boys prepare to blow up the old wreck.

I, for one, would like to know what Ben's mather is up to.

I, for one, would like to know what Ben’s mather is up to during this period.

The sequence drags on interminably for three reasons.  Number 1.  As far as I can tell, there is no particular reason for them to blow up the old wreck.  The shark doesn’t use it as a hideout, nor is it leaking toxic chemicals.  It may be that the shark, which is a manifestation of an American Indian shark god, protests the presence of this man-made object.  But if so, this is never stated.

Probably has something to do with this Indian artifact, which is also never really explained.

Probably has something to do with this Indian artifact, which is also never really explained.

Number 2. The boys obviously did not prepare for this.  A lot of screen time is devoted to them getting the dynamite ready once they’ve already anchored at the site.  Well, not exactly “at the site.”  Evidently they have to swim very far to deploy the dynamite.  We get to watch as they make several trips back to the boat to get more dynamite, then down to the wreck again.  Back and forth, then back again, then forth again.  Seems like they should have gotten this stuff ready before they reached the site, and parked a little bit closer.

"Wish I had done this earlier!"

“Wish I had done this earlier!”

Number 3. This wreck sequence is part of the 55th sharksploitation film I’ve watched.  That’s enough to make anybody cranky.

Cool matching shirts notwithstanding.

Cool matching shirts notwithstanding.

While not a trailer, this excerpt showcases the highly realistic “pink blood” used in the film:

“Deep Blood” is pretty hard to find.